Bengaluru Buzz: BBMP governance issues | Agile Bengaluru plan … and more

Other news of the week: Efforts to improve public transport, progress in Mission Indradhanush, and inivite for tenders for two-way tunnel roads.

BBMP governance issues

The government has set a two-month deadline for ward delimitation. Even the previous government reduced the number of wards from 243 to 225. However, senior Ministers are now debating whether civic polls should be organised at the end of this year. As there is no clarity over restructuring the city’s governance structure, the worry is that the civic polls may push reforms to the background.

Meanwhile, on the Working Contractors’ Association complaint that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has held up its bills, the Governor, Thaawarchand Gehlot, summoned BBMP Chief Commissioner Tushar Girinath. The contractors said that the BBMP owes them Rs 5,500 crore.

BBMP officials are sandwiched between two parallel investigations — one led by Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar and another by four senior IAS officers who are trying to find irregularities in public works. Four special investigation teams (SITs) have been formed to look into the works taken up by the BBMP during the last four years of the BJP’s rule. The fault-finding committee is expected to get to the bottom of all works, from tendering to quality checks in a month. However, the micro-management, apart from regular checks and balances, is becoming contentious among many employees of various institutions.

Source: The Hindu, Deccan Herald

Mission Indradhanush

On August 7th, Deputy CM DK Shivakumar kickstarted IMI 5.0, or the fifth phase of the Intensified Mission Indradhanush 5.0. at Austin Town maternity hospital, where three infants were vaccinated. The drive will enhance administration of vaccines against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles, Hepatitis B, pneumonia, and Haemophilus, among others.

Children up to five years and pregnant women, who have not been vaccinated under the Universal Immunisation Programme, can now get immunised. They can get vaccinated at the nearest primary health centres, anganwadis and BBMP urban public health centres.

Source: The Times of India

Agile Bengaluru plan

Experts, citizens and other stakeholders chalked out a master plan and comprehensive mobility scheme for ‘Agile Bengaluru’, one of the themes chosen for Brand Bengaluru. Officials from BBMP, Ramaiah Institute of Management and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) are studying 8,412 suggestions from the public to prepare a detailed report.

BS Prahlad, BBMP Engineer-in-Chief, said that in 2022, almost 247 people have died in road accidents. It is important to improve footpaths, public transport, cycle lanes and authorised parking spots.

IISc has synthesised around 10,000 responses received through an online portal in the mobility and transportation space. Other stakeholders, including the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL), the BBMP, the Karnataka Rail Infrastructure Development Company (K-RIDE), Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), civil society groups and NGOs, are also compiling responses.

The people have demanded increasing the frequency of BMTC buses, fast tracking Metro works, building pedestrian-friendly streets and synchronised mobility solutions. The chief of Brand Bengaluru, D K Shivakumar, has been holding marathon meetings with engineering consultancy firms for inputs on tunnel roads and the Peripheral Ring Road (PRR) project.

Meanwhile, the government is contemplating extending Namma Metro to four peripheral towns – Doddaballapur, Nelamangala, Devanahalli and Hoskote.

Source: Deccan Herald, Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindu

Read more: Open letter to DULT and BMTC on improving public transport in Bengaluru

Improving public transport

The police is collaborating with the government for solutions to incentivise public transport, said City Police Commissioner B. Dayananda. He was interacting with IT-BT companies on the Outer Ring Road on August 9th, Samparka Divasa, an outreach programme. The companies also suggested enhancing the BMTC fleet, encouraging public transport, stricter enforcement of traffic rules, and strategic re-positioning of bus stands. Sources said that public transport faced a demand and capacity mismatch.

Dayananda said that even a completed Metro project would have a very limited impact on traffic as its carriage capacity would be only 5-6 lakh. But BMTC transports 40-50 lakh every day. Officials suggested that companies can think along the lines of carpooling or even bus pooling.

Source: The Hindu

Steps towards Green Bengaluru

Another theme chosen for Brand Bengaluru was the Green Bengaluru session on August 9th, for which the BBMP is working closely with universities for planting and protecting trees. BBMP Special Commissioner (Estate and Lakes), Preeti Gehlot, said that they are drafting a detailed report. Activists, Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and citizens emphasised the need to monitor the effectiveness of compensatory afforestation, prevention of sewage entry into lakes and park development. It is important to enhance coordination among BBMP, BDA, BWSSB, Urban Local Bodies, revitalise lakes and enhance groundwater levels.

Seminar on Green Bengaluru at R V College of Engineering.
Seminar on Green Bengaluru at R V College of Engineering. Pic: Twitter/BBMPCares

On August 9th, activists also submitted a list of issues involving lakes and measures that need to be taken into consideration. The Federation of Bengaluru Lakes (FBL), a collective of multiple, voluntary lake groups, said that though crores are spent to rejuvenate lakes, progress on it slips back in a few years, mainly because they are being developed without proper surveys, encroachment clearances, boundary fixations, technical studies or approved detailed project reports (DPRs). Friends of Lakes said that a nodal officer should be appointed to keep track of lake-related projects and give information.

The meeting also deliberated on the entry of raw sewage and industrial effluents into the lakes through stormwater drains. The lake groups also lamented that the government declared some lakes as ‘dead’.

Meanwhile, although fish yield in the city’s lakes is increasing every year, experts and activists are worried about its implications. Commercial fishing is affecting fish species and leading to biodiversity loss.

Source: Indian Express, Deccan Herald

Read more: Broad-based public consultations key to an equitable Bengaluru: Neha Sami

Two-way tunnel roads

Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar has invited global tenders for his plan of setting up a 150-km, Rs 50,000-crore, two-way tunnel road project by August 17th.

The Bengaluru development minister has met engineering consultancy firms, both domestic and international, over many weeks, with discussions on several designs and modalities. It is expected to cost as much as the government’s five poll guarantee schemes.

He has got road infrastructure designs to decongest traffic, preventing heavy vehicular movement from important national highway routes like Airport Road, Hosur Road, Nelamangala and Mysuru Road and Kolar Road.

Source: Indian Express

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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